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Autonomous cars may still need billions of miles of test driving

Automakers have been touting self-driving cars as the solution to traffic congestion and high auto accident rates, yet a report from the Rand Corporation suggests that manufacturers are neglecting safety in their rush to introduce the cars to the public. New York residents may remember how an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in March 2018. The vehicles have yet to completely prove their reliability.

The report states that it may take millions or billions of miles of test driving before autonomous vehicles prove their readiness for the road. For the existing fleet of such vehicles, it may take decades or possibly centuries to complete rigorous testing.

Waymo has completed the most extensive testing of any self-driving car tech company: 10 million miles of test driving in the real world and 7 billion miles of testing using simulation technology. Rand suggests this is still not enough. Variables like weather, road conditions, pedestrian behaviors, traffic flow and different types of street lights must be taken into account. One company, Nvidia, has announced a simulation platform that may be able to meet Rand’s demand for a rigorous testing regime. The platform is called Drive Constellation and can create thousands of scenarios involving all of the variables mentioned above and much more.

Though car crashes with self-driving vehicles are still rare, they do not take away victims’ right to seek compensation for their economic and non-economic losses. Determining liability in such crashes can be hard, which is why victims may want a lawyer to evaluate the case. As New York is a no-fault state, victims can only file a personal injury claim if the crash led to serious, permanent injuries or death. With a lawyer’s help, victims may aim for a reasonable settlement.

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